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Austin has been a hotbed for iconoclastic rock & roll bands since the days of Roky Erickson, and eclectic powerhouse Megafauna fits right in with that rich legacy. Released post-pandemic and leader Dani Neff’s maternity leave, the quartet’s sixth LP Olympico seethes with energy, while also evidencing the kind of refined craft great outfits earn over the course of careers. The band’s musclebound psych/grunge/prog/power rock blazes like an oversaturated grill, but Neff and her compadres never lose control. “Capsize,” “Sunday Saturday,” and the brutal “Bi Postal” bristle with hooks, textures, and power, held together by Neff’s sturdy compositional skills and the band’s tight arrangements – courting chaos without careening off the road. Neff pulls the group back from the brink on the mid-album duology of “Sometimes Island” and “Yellow,” but that’s just the calm before the storm. The dynamic “Dozer” starts soft and ends heavy, while the magnificent “Lookout Mountain” puts all of Megafauna’s eggs in one basket and hangs it off Neff’s superior riff magic. Olympico proves that maturity and real rock can not only coexist but work in harmony.
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